Man to emulate: Teddy Roosevelt


On October 14th, 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest. The bullet passed through a metal eyeglasses case, his folded up speech in his shirt pocket, and three inches of tissue. Supporters tried to get him to go to the hospital, but he continued on with his speech. His opening words:

“Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”

Teddy Roosevelt was an almost unstoppable force in American politics and in American history. While I don’t agree with everything he did (e.g. His actions after the Maine explosion), I admire his spirit as an explorer, thinker, change agent, and citizen. I read somewhere that there are three types of people in this world: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who ask, “What just happened?”. Roosevelt is pretty unmatched in American history for “Making things Happen.” I can think of few Americans who “made things happen” more than Roosevelt. In his lifetime he accomplished the following things:

1. Work as state legislator, police commissioner, and governor in New York
2. Own and work a ranch in the Dakotas
3. Serve as Assistant Secretary of the Navy
4. Fight as a Rough Rider in the Spanish-American War
5. Serve as President for two terms, then run for an unprecedented third term
6. Become the first President to leave the country during his term in order to see the building of the Panama Canal
7. Write 35 books
8. Read tens of thousands of books-several a day in multiple languages
9. Explore the Amazonian rainforests
10. Discover, navigate, and be named after a completely uncharted Amazonian river over 625 miles long
11. Volunteer to lead a voluntary infantry unit into WWI at age 59.

Read more: Art of Manliness

One of my favorite quotes of his:

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

Best of 2010(part 1)

Sure it’s a little lowbrow, but man this Best Wins of 2010 is a nail bitter. So many close calls, anyone with a heart condition should watch with caution. I don’t care what anyone says, I could watch this crap all day.

Whoa! Holy Cow! Shazam!

Raymond Loewy – Consumerism as an art form


I recently learned about the awesomeness of Raymond Loewy after having spotted book with an interesting name located on one of Flatout Design’s sweet pieces for sale on Craigslist. It was a highly collectible book called “Industrial Design” and it was about 20th century American Industrial Designer Raymond Loewy. Thinking about Raymond Loewy, and his aesthetic and his beliefs has really started to get me to think about the artistic merit of the producer/consumer relationship. While much modern thought would characterize consumption as destructive and unethical, I tend to see it as creative and beautiful.

Me, being the unschooled type, has to rely on happenstance to learn most things. I saw the title of this book on the Flatout’s display shelf and had to know what it was all about. One thing lead to another and I was quickly google-fuing my way through Raymond Loewy’s history. This guy, if you don’t know him, was a giant in 20th century industrial design. What is “industrial design”? you might ask….Industrial design is all about product design. The art and science of making products both beautiful, functional, and pleasing to the consumer. Loewy had an interesting philosophy when it came designing pieces for the consumer. He felt that the design had to be forward reaching, but not too foreign that the consumer couldn’t relate to it. He was focused not only on the aesthetics of the piece, but also on how that aesthetic would drive consumer demand.

“The most beautiful curve is a rising sales graph” -Raymond Loewy

Maybe this desire to chase the consumer degrades his “pure artist” cred in the eyes of many, but frankly, I think its necessary. We need artists in this world who can recognize our desires and elevate the products around us. I don’t buy the philosophy that producers “trick” us into buying things we didn’t really want. We want them because what they create is what we want. We didn’t know we wanted it because we didn’t know about it, because it wasn’t created yet. What we drink should taste good, but also be packaged beautifully as well.

Consumption can be beautiful. - Jayson F

I’ve said it. I’m out of the consumerist closet. Consuming, I think, can be part of a sort of relationship. There’s an industrial designer on one side, creating this piece, this thing, which he or she expects to be used, viewed, or manipulated in some way. On the other side is the consumer, the person who takes the item, uses it and manipulates it. Often, the consumer again becomes the producer. How is Loewy’s refashioning of the Coke bottle any less dramatic, significant, and “artistic” than DuChampe’s toilet? Loewy was not only making a statement, but also defining that fictive space necessary for true art.

Bill Watterson’s College Artwork

Sound effects

Like probably many of you out there, I’m a huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes; man, a good 17 years I’ve been reading this strip. Heck, almost my entire life. I love that every time I come back to it, it gets smarter. As a young kid I reveled in the slapstick, in Calvin’s mistreatment of his parents, babysitters, and Susie. A little older, and all the wonderful commentary and wit made chuckle till I rolled out of my chair. And now, as I read, I sit and ponder the life I am living and what kind of man I am. Am I a good husband and father? Yikes! Deep stuff.

Here’s some early Watterson artwork from his college years. More here. (via)

My Current Project – industrial G.E. Fan Restoration


I found this rusted out General Electric fan. Its totally industrial. The stand is steel piping, screwed into the back of the fan, no curves, all flat angular lines with bolts and grease. Both the base and the cage were rusty as heck. Sanding, scrubbing, and cleaning is getting them close to new. I still need a few more layers of spray paint on the cage, but its starting to come together. Right now I’m vascilating on what color the blades should be. For a while I was thinking all white, but am not certain after seeing the black awesomeness of this fan. Why don’t they make things this gorgeous and sturdy and majestic anymore?

Anyways, I just hope I don’t turn out to sound like this guy. Although his fan restoration work is nerdtacular.